Twin Engines, Double the Fun
By introducing the new TXC40 T5, Volvo now offers a plug-in hybrid version of every model in its lineup. The 1.5-liter 3-cylinder gas engine is paired with an electric motor to pump out 262 horsepower.
Twin engines have traditionally powered small planes but, over the years, cars have tested the waters. The Mosler TwinStar Eldorado in the 1990s featured two V8s—it weighed in at over 4,000 pounds and was still capable of sprinting to 60 mph in 5 seconds. In the sixties, John Cooper designed a twin-engine Mini Cooper with an engine at the front and back of the car that nearly killed him. Citroen similarly built the Sahara with an engine over each axle to navigate the desert—it was okay in sand but slow as a desert tortoise.
The Nuts and Bolts
Volvo states that this offering is the first plug-in hybrid in the compact SUV market. They also promise a range of nearly 30 miles on electric power alone, and huge savings in energy consumption while in hybrid mode. The TXC40 T5 will be available in the U.S. in February 2020.
Volvo uses an innovative design to accomplish this. Unlike most other hybrid, the T5’s electric motor hangs off the top of the transmission and delivers its torque to the transmission’s output shaft. The Acura RLX Sport Hybrid V6 utilizes a similarly designed, though no less clever system. Car and Driver does an excellent job of describing the complexities of the T5’s twin engine, though the explanation may require an engineering degree and off-the-charts auto knowledge to understand it.
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